Identifying a collapse in morale

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Kromeriz, May 13, 2013.

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  1. Soldiers' jobs spared by redundancy volunteers - Telegraph

    Is the number of people opting to quit the army a sign of collapsing morale, especially in these dire economic times?

    What steps can now be taken to show the Armed Forces that they are valued? As opposed to the talking up of the Army and then the dismissing of 20K people at the same time.

    Given the voluntary opt out of service, and the stated reduction in spend from 2015, should the government not now state a future number? I for one feel that manning will drop far further than the stated 82K.

  2. Not really. Most people don't do a full 22 years in. The majority do a lot less. There's been a lot in the news about lack of of jobs, but if you're employable and have a skills set that somebody wants then there's work. Why not tax a redundancy package if you're making the change.

    I also suspect that there's some out there who are leaving as with Afghanistan winding down they're not looking forward to peace time soldiering so they've decided to leave.
  3. A collapse in morale would see people leaving in their thousands, not just waiting for redundancy. This sort of thing happens in civvy companies also, many don't like the threat of redundancy hanging over them and others use it as a chance to see what is on the other side of the hill.
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  4. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    I think a key issue where morale is concened is the effect it has on those 'already in the system' who witness change after change. Those personnel are likely to be in positions of influence (i.e. Sgts and above). So the more junior generation see the effect the changes have on those that are possibly idolised, almost certainly looked up to for inspiration and leadership, and the effect is slightly contagious.

    Everybody has their breaking point. You keep making cuts, removing perks - the things that once drew that person in to enlist for example - and sooner or later that person's point will be reached and they will ask the question of themselves, "can I do better than this?" It's not a question of feeling undervalued I suspect. Most people are intelligent enough to figure out that if there's not enough in the public purse, then sooner or later most areas will feel the squeeze.

    The real question people will be asking themselves is - are they prepared to accept continued employment with less benefits than previously? If so then carry on normal jogging.

    But a generous redundancy package can often be seen as that little 'leg-up' to answering that instinct of an individual that feels they deserve a 'better life' and so they take it. It certainly doesn't guarantee the grass will be greener of course. But some people (especially those relatively institutionalised) will have a fear of signing off and losing that security blanket, so to speak.

    Peaks and troughs - one day (not too far from now), we'll all be doing bone exercises in Salisbury plain enjoying sports afternoons and early knock-offs on Fridays again, whilst falling out of favour with the public for being an out-an-out menace to society with our bored squaddies colonising towns at weekends, plied with excessive amounts of alcohol.
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  5. Unfortunately, I think that you may be missing a key point. One of the most significant reasons that morale is flagging (even further and yet again) is that soldiering has become tiresome. it is increasingly no longer seen as a career choice, but rather as "something to do before getting a real job". Even the suggestion another deployment/conflict is not greeted with enthusiasm, as most have now seen and become well aware of the realities of pink mist!

    What needs to sought and altered are the key ingredients that made soldiering fun, despite the crap.
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  6. TheresaMay

    TheresaMay LE Moderator DirtyBAT

    Key point - soldiering has become tiresome? I have to disagree.

    Soldiering used to be tiresome, before the Balkans campaigns, SL, Iraq and Afghanistan. Back then we had little purpose and were still equipped for a war that never happened; hence we all got fat drinking our heads off in Germany. Since then we have been driven by operational requirement, UORs, mission statements and a sense of purpose. Soldiering was no longer about sports afternoons and early knock offs - it became about being fit for purpose; but a lot of the old and bold saw this as "not as fun as it used to be".

    One of the problems I see on a daily basis right now however, is that we appear to be still trying to achieve the same results as before, with less people, less resources and more demand. Tiresome doesn't even enter into it - threaders is a more accurate description.
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  7. Ah, the halcyon days of yore.

    What'll be interesting is if that sports afternoon and three day weekend model is enough anymore. A lot of what made the mid-90s bearable has either gone or has been severely curtailed. Germany's going and with it a good chunk of AT facilities. Being 'good in the Mess' doesn't cut it anymore and the consequences of a bit of 'high jinks' at the weekend are taken, quite rightly, more seriously than they used to be. Even the basing model has changed and a lot of people are going to end up spending a lot of time is some pretty uninspiring locations without the thought of a shiny posting in a couple of years.

    I don't think, in short, that we're going back to a model we've seen before but rather to something new again. As different, in it's way to the 80's and 90's as they were to the NS Army of the 50's.

    I really don't think that morale has collapsed or is even close to so doing, but we do face a pretty significant set of challenges. For myself? Meh, it's my last tour anyway. But a civvy I work with asked me last week if I'd recomend the Army for his son. I genuinely haven't come up with an answer yet.
  8. The position I was in about 16 years ago. Nephew joined up. He is now a Staff Sgt in PT Corps. The impression I get is that morale varies unit by unit. He was PTI with Paras and then with a Scots Regt and in both cases high morale. He is now with a unit with which he has a motivation task.

    There have been more of his former classmates at school die than guys he did basic with. It was/is actually more dangerous to stay in the area long term useless (unemployed then unemployable then dead). So on that basis alone the advice to join up seems vindicated.

    My impression is that with Paras and Highlanders any initiative (Strong man comps, links with local ABA and MMA clubs) was welcomed enthusiastically. But with other units he has more of a managerial motivation role just to get the beggars to move.

    Like the winning and losing boat race crews. Some units have a loser brain chemistry.
  9. The Army has one hell of a culture shock coming to it. I read recently that the average length of service is 8 years - this means that for the vast majority of those in the army, life on Ops is all they've ever known. The Army of yesteryear is a rapidly declining memory save for a very senior personnel.
    The reality of life in barracks without the possibility of ops and interesting deployments, and without the chance to 'do the job for real' is going to be difficult for about 10 years as people adjust to either life without action, or coming in and spending their time listening to a diminishing band of 'when I was on' stories.
    Give it 10-15 years and the last bulk of the HERRICK / TELIC generation will have gone and the Army will once again be manned in the main by those who have not known regular sustained operations.

    Talking to my peers, people are leaving in the main due to combination of frustration, realising their career prospects are limited, and also getting out before pension changes make it worse for them. This is not really that different to previous years - people will always have one eye on their escape plan and events occur to make them want to put it into action.
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  10. I know a lot of people who have held off from signing off in case they got redundancy. Why go with **** all when you can get a big wedge of cash for going instead?

    After the first redundancy brief we got I know more than one person who found out their trade/rank wasn't on the list and went from the gym (where the brief was held) straight to the nearest DII terminal and signed off.

    The last announcement was unbelievable - I had a look at Facebook on the morning before the brief and there were literally dozens of my still serving mates excited at the prospect of being in the redundancy brackets. Again some signed off when they found out they weren't.

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  11. Wow. An Optimist!
  12. Then do you push more resources into supporting RM? When has there not been a decade without conflict. Admitted the 70.s seemed to be quiet with the exception of NI.
  13. Morale has significantly dropped, in my role we were all gutted that we had not been picked for redundancy. Why you may ask?

    There is no genuine incentive to stay in, a lot of us have been at the same pay which was good four years ago has not kept up with the cost of living, fuel, bills and suchlike. Guys who live a fair distance away are stung with fuel prices. Spoke to a few of my single soldiers, Project SLAM though nice accommodation is expensive, predominantly most camps are a good 3 miles from Town centres. If you are lucky a out of town shopping centre is close by. But often not. Unit bars have been closed because of contractual issues with SPAR/NAAFI/MACE. SLAM also has shuttered soldiers away.

    If you are a single soldier life is not so good, living on the Pad Estate is a little bit better as your family is close by. Another concern is that there is no incentive for life experience now, Limited foreign postings with lamentable extra financial incentives.

    Drawdown in Germany to former RAF camps in the UK is helping matters either. During the cold war all RAF bases were constructed tactically away main population centres and in some remote locations. Thats also shutters families as well as single soldiers.

    Another big thing is Morale due to personal moral conviction, a lot of soldiers have personally invested there time, limbs and life in Iraq without thanks or seeing benefit of their actions, unfortunately the same will happen with Afghanistan and though being professional will take it on the chin. It still hurts though, not seeing something through to positivity.

    With the redundancies promotion is being limited, the survivors of the redundancies are fighting for promotion,

    One of my senior signallers also mentioned something which is a blinder, the Army is no longer a family anymore.

    Pay, location, promotion, instability, lack of foreign adventure, and positive outcomes from expeditionary warfare have hit soldiers hard.
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  14. Pretty damning.
  15. Spending a full 22 years in some dismal midlands swamp or (if they dont leave) some windswept middle of nowhere Scottish hillside with about zero chance of getting a posting to somewhere different is going to be a really hard sell for the recruiters of the future and those that are already in and do stay will probably be the pension trapped.

    Give it 10 years and tales of BAOR will be the stuff of legend and myth and "the youth of today won't believe you".